Monthly Archives: July 2017

“Cities of Readers” at the Society for the Medieval Mediterranean 5th biennial conference, Ghent University, 10-12 July 2017

In collaboration with Professor Konrad Hirschler (Freie Universität, Berlin; The Written Word in the Medieval Arabic Lands: A Social and Cultural History of Reading Practices (2012)) the “Cities of Readers” project organised a series of three sessions at the SMM Conference: “Emotions, Imaginations, and Communities in the Medieval Mediterranean”, organised by Ghent University, 10-12 july 2017.

I. Books and Reading in the Mediterranean, Communities, Identities, and Connected Histories: Circulation of Knowledge
– Mario Antonio Cossío Olavide (University of Minnesota): Crossing the Reading Sea. The Libro de Los Ejemplos as a Case of Mediterranean Reading
– Christopher D. Bahl (SOAS, University of London): The Circulation of Arabic Grammar Books Across the Eastern Mediterranean.

II. Books and Reading in the Mediterranean, Communities, Identities, and Connected Histories: Books, Materiality, and Religion
– Konrad Hirschler (Free University Berlin): The Materiality of Inter-Religious Manuscript Reuse.
– Margriet Hoogvliet (University of Groningen): The French “Midi” as a Hub in the International and Interreligious Trade of Christian Religious Books in the Vernaculars (15th-16th centuries).
– Yehoshua Frenkel (University of Haifa): Books: Forms and Functions.

III. Books and Reading in the Mediterranean, Communities, Identities, and Connected Histories: Book Collections
– Mustafa Altuğ Yayla (University of Hamburg): Tracing Book Collecting Interests of a Naqshbandi/Ahrari Disciple in Early Modern Ottoman Anatolia: The Lamii Çelebi of Bursa (d. 1532) Case.
– Sabrina Corbellini (University of Groningen): The Ethics of Reading: Libraries, Books and Dissemination of Knowledge.

The papers presented a great variety of languages, regions, cultures and texts, yet the approach through “spatial aspects of books and reading cultures” proved to be very fruitful. The “global Middle Ages” was not only characterised by frequent links of connectivity through all the Mediterranean basin, and even beyond to the Indian Ocean, more importantly, the participants discovered that we can learn from each other’s analytical approaches to collecting and disseminating texts, social networks linked to textual circulation, vernacularisation, manuscript cultures, multilinguality, collective reading practices, sacred texts, and “lieux de savoir”: places of the production, storage, multiplication, consultation and disseminating of texts and knowledge.

Public lecture by Sabrina Corbellini at the Festival d’Avignon “Rencontres Recherche et Création Avignon”


Lundi 10 juillet 2017,14h00 – 18h00       

Dignité et héroïsme (Les errances du sujet) 

Avec la participation de Yoshiji Yokoyama, dramaturge, Shizuoka Performing Arts Center (spectacle : Antigone)
Présentation par Christian Biet
Avec les questions, notamment, de : Frédéric Sawicki, Pierre Judet de la Combe
Animation : Alain Viala

Dignité et spiritualité dans la cité médiévale

Sabrina Corbellini, professeure d’histoire médiévale, Université de Groningen, responsable du projet « New Communities of Interpretation: Contexts, Strategies and Processes of Religious Transformation in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe », financé par COST

See also the announcement on the festival’s website

“Cities of Readers” at IMC Leeds 2017

This year two members of “Cities of Readers” presented papers at the International Medieval Congress 2017 in Leeds:

Sabrina Corbellini presented a paper entitled Spiritual Landscapes in Late Medieval Florence: Letters and Networks
in the session: “Spiritual Landscapes: Mapping Female Spirituality in the Middle Ages II”, organised by the “Spiritual landscapes” project (University of Barcelona).

Sabrina was also a referent in the Round Table discussion “New Religious Histories: Rethinking the Study of Medieval Religion”.

Margriet Hoogvliet organised the session:
Mappings, II: Producing and Reproducing Local Maps

Medieval mapmaking is often thought to have been above all ‘unscientific’ and ‘symbolic’. Recent publications have, however, revived the interest in local maps and plans from the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period by unearthing forgotten documents from the archives that are sometimes the result of advanced land-measuring techniques. Local maps are also important records of the representation of identities, or of changing spatial conceptualizations. Finally, digital techniques such as GIS and His-GIS offer exciting new possibilities for reproducing and re-using these historical documents for spatial analyses.

with contributions by:

Paul Fermon (EPHE, Paris): “The Traditions of Geometrical Representation and the Rise of Local Mapmaking during the 14th Century and the 15th Century: Italy and South of France”

Désiré Krikken (University of Groningen): “My Plot, Your Plat, Our Inhabited Landscape: Early Modern Land Surveyors and the Record of European Physical and Social Space”

Margriet’s paper was entitled: Using Historical Maps for GIS-Based Analysis: Religious Books in Amiens

The post-mortem inventories in the série FF of the Archives communales in Amiens generally contain quite detailed information about the religious books owned by lay people, as well as about the location of their houses in early sixteenth century Amiens (here 1503-c. 1530), thus allowing for a quite precise localisation of “lieux de savoir” in lay people’s homes and a GIS-based analysis of the spatial dynamics of religious knowledge in urban social networks. Because of the damages of two World Wars, much of medieval Amiens is now lost. Consequently, early modern maps and plans are important sources in order to reconstruct the street plan of late medieval Amiens and to reproduce a map of the town as it was approximately in the period 1450-1520. Sixteenth-century maps and town views of Amiens and its fertile “hortillonages”  (the oldest map dates from 1542, now in the Archives départementales de la Somme) are also instrumental in our modern understanding of historical urban identities and perceptions of Amiens as a prosperous, religious, and fiercely defended town on the border of France and the Low Countries.

Please note: Next year, at the IMC 2018 the “Cities of Readers” project hopes to present a series of four sessions on the theme “Performances”
(Performances of writing, Performances of collecting, Performances of reading, Performances of theatre).